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Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman
by Tammy Drennan
Ninety-five years ago today, a very important man took his first breath of Earth's troubled air - a man who would shake up the world's ideas about prosperity and freedom and what they mean to one another.
That man, Milton Friedman, is no longer with us, but his ideas live on in our hearts and minds and in the lives of millions of people around the world who now breathe freer thanks to his efforts.
There was one odd little burp in Dr. Friedman's philosophy of freedom, though.
In today's Wall Street Journal, Thomas F. Siems writes of Friedman, "[H]e saw education and the free exchange of ideas as prerequisites to advancing this freedom for the next generation."
Mr. Siems goes on to quote Milton Friedman,
Freedom is not a natural state of mankind. It is a rare and wonderful achievement. It will take an understanding of what freedom is, of where the dangers to freedom come from. it will take the courage to act on that understanding if we are not only to preserve the freedoms that we have, but to realize the full potential of a truly free society. (1)
The burp? Friedman's vision wavered when it came to freedom in education. He supported state-funded school choice as if it could overcome the burden of state regulation.
We're learning the hard way that it cannot. The evidence is mounting. State money comes not with strings attached but with chains attached. I can't help but believe that Dr. Friedman would certainly have come to recognize this, even that he did realize it and was speaking from his desperation over the malignant state of American public schooling.
But he left us the seeds of a vision that can free American families from the stranglehold of the state over their children's minds and spirits. Listen to him again:
It will take an understanding... of where the dangers to freedom come from. It will take the courage to act on that understanding if we are not only to preserve the freedoms that we have, but to realize the full potential of a truly free society.
The Alliance is proud to carry on this vision of Milton Friedman - promoting an understanding of where the danger to freedom comes from and the courage to act on that understanding.
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